Prague, March 2 (CTK) – The Czech government will suspend all flights from South Korea due to the novel coronavirus spread and plans to limit flights from Milan, Venice, Bologna and Bergamo in Northern Italy as well, PM Andrej Babiš (ANO) said after a meeting of the Government Security Council today.
In the case of South Korea, the Czech government need not consult the European Commission (EC) on the measure.
The same rules will apply to the limitation of air connection with South Korea, Industry and Trade and Transport Minister Karel Havlicek (for ANO) said, adding that the flights from Seoul should be suspended as of Tuesday.
The government is negotiating with the EC about the suspension of flights from Northern Italy.
In this case, Prague can use the exemption for European airlines and suspend flights because of “unpredictable circumstances” for two weeks, Havlicek said. The ministry is communicating with the respective authorities in this matter, he noted.
The BRS also recommended to limit visits to healthcare centres for the long-term ill, senior homes and social care homes due to the spread of the coronavirus, Babis said.
Vulnerable groups stay in these facilities, Health Minister Adam Vojtech (for ANO) added.
The Czech Airlines (CSA) air carrier suspended its flights to Milan and Bologna until April 6 today with an immediate effect, following the government recommendation, CSA spokeswoman Vladimira Dufkova has told CTK.
The Czech Airlines also suspended its flights to Seoul last Thursday. Another Prague-Seoul line, operated by Korean Air, has so far worked without changes.
Tests revealed the first three cases of the novel coronavirus infection in the Czech Republic on Sunday. All patients stayed in Northern Italy that had reported a high incidence of the novel coronavirus infection since last week.
Italy has long been one of the most popular destinations. Last year, more than 1.46 million passengers were checked in on these lines at the Prague airport, according to its statistics.
Italy is thus the second busiest country after Britain as far as flights from Prague are concerned.
The coronavirus has spread mainly in Northern Italy where Czechs like to go skiing. The Italian government prolonged the quarantine in the 11 most afflicted municipalities today. The measure applies to some 50,000 inhabitants, who must not leave the red zone protected by the police. Big culture and sport events were cancelled in these regions.
South Korea reported other 476 cases of the novel coronavirus infection today and thus the number of infected people rose to 4,212, while 22 have died there.